When Beluga Lake freezes Homer gets a new central park. Compared to walking dogs, sitting on benches,and playing on swingsets, the activities of this park are different.
With the lake surface hardened into thick foundation, the ice allures passersby into performing sophisticated rituals — like, for example, driving cars really fast and spinning around, or, in the counterpart to this euphoria, watching people drive their cars really fast and spinning around.
Other options include strapping on a pair of skates and gliding across the lake, or whacking dense black pucks towards your buddies. This ice does not have a Zamboni, so watch out for the frozen bubbles and cracks which will catch your blades’ edge and quickly introduce gravity.
Regardless of what one is tempted to do on the frozen playground, please make sure the ice is thick enough. The Betster does not encourage people to use the lake when falling through is very likely. Remember the Alaska Department of Fish and Game guidelines: 4 inches for ice skating, 5 inches for a snowmachine, 8-12 inches for a car, 12-15 inches for a medium truck and 25 to 50 inches for a woolly mammoth.
Layers are an extremely important concept during this winter season, as well. Of course there are the layers of long underwear, longsleeve shirt, long coat, overcoat, beanie, hoodand gloves. The necessity of these are obvious.
There are also the layers of snow which many Homerites wish will build up over their properties and surrounding hillsides. Many layers of wax will ensure that the ski season can get gliding along when the time comes.
Or consider the confectionary layers which build a properly baked cake up and allow the cream or jam to rest in the seams. Hopefully some of these will be served during the upcoming holidays. Don’t forget: the Betster likes chocolate.
Unfortunately there will also be layers of ice in places we don’t prefer, like the steep driveways or dirt roads which lead to our abodes.
Above all else, attend the proper layers for your winter-time glee, and make sure you don’t drive on the lake before it’s really frozen.
For all the ways to layer your calendar with exciting events, check out these Best Bets:
BEST LUNCH AND LEARN BET: Grab a sack lunch and go to the Discovery Lab at noon Friday, Nov. 18, for “Life on the Edge,” a presentation by Dr. Amanda Kelley and graduate fellow Jonah Jossart. They speak about their work monitoring conditions in Kachemak Bay nearshore environments to understand biological response to climate change and impacts of ocean acidification on mariculture and subsistence species. The free event is at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve.
BEST TUNE IN BET: There have been some blessings of the days when we retreated to our fortresses of solitude during the worse of the COVID-19 pandemic, like Bunnell Arts By Air. The series that broadcasts on KBBI AM 890 live performances at Bunnell Street Arts Center continues with a concert from 6:45-8 p.m. Friday. Want to listen by a warm fire at home? Tune in to our local awesome public radion station. Ready to go out? Attend the concert, but be seated at 6:45 p.m. promptly. This Friday, Bunnell and KBBI present pianist Mayumi Tayake, cellist Mannfried Funk and violinist Daniel Perry. Mayumi Tayake and Mannfried Funk are founding members of Trio Seattle and are joined by violinist, Daniel Perry. The trio will be playing the Brahms E-minor cello sonata and the Mendelssohn D minor piano trio.
BEST THICK ENOUGH BET: You won’t have to wait for local lakes to get thicker to strap on your skates. The Kevin Bell Ice Arena is open, and every Sunday from 1-2:30 p.m. it’s free skate day. Practice those elegant figure skating moves or teach your friends newly arrived from Florida how to skate. Free Public Skate days are made possible by generous donors from the Alaska Community Foundation.
BEST FIRED UP BET: The Homer Council on the Arts has installed a kiln and pottery studio in its lower-level space and now offers ceramics classes. Don’t have access to a studio? HCOA is here for you. Get a pass for open studios from 1-4 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 17. Passes are $120 for HCOA members or $130 for the general public. HCOA also offers ceramics classes. HCOA also offers these classes at $100 for members, $110 for nonmembers. Class fees include clay, glaze, tools, and firings. Learn More at Homerart.org/education/ceramics.
Grade K-2 Ceramics, 3-4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, Nov. 29 to Dec. 15: Explore making functional and decorative ceramics using coil, pinch, and slab hand building methods with instructor Robert Ostman.
Grade 3-6 Ceramics, 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, Nov. 29 to Dec. 15: Explore making functional and decorative ceramics using coil, pinch, slab hand building methods and an introduction to wheel throwing with instructor Robert Ostman.
Teen & Adult (Grade 7-adult), 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays, Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14. Explore making functional and decorative ceramics using coil, pinch, and slab hand building methods with instructor Elizabeth Carroll.